Dos Santos, Guardado 8/10 as Mexico keeps rolling
That's now four wins in four games for new Mexico manager Gerardo "Tata" Martino. Following Sunday night's 3-2 victory over Ecuador, the Argentine has remained undefeated in the lead up to this summer's 2019 Gold Cup.
Ahead of the CONCACAF tournament, here are some takeaways and player ratings from the most recent El Tri result.
It's all about that chemistry. For a team that has had to deal with absences and injury problems, Mexico once again looked like a highly organized and cohesive unit against Ecuador. Throughout the match, Martino's men were efficient with their passing and did an excellent job of rapidly moving the ball up the pitch.
Scoring multiple goals against South American opposition -- for a fourth game in a row -- is also another sign of progress under the new manager.
Injuries have once again become a talking point. Hector Moreno was seen lying on the floor in the first half and was later substituted out in the 35th minute. Early reports have put his place in the Gold Cup up in the air.
Mexico's overlooked problems in the backline should be brought up as well. Despite the noteworthy success in the attack, El Tri has also allowed six goals in the last four friendlies.
Manager rating (out of 10)
8 -- In a short amount of time, Tata has immediately found a way to arrange his roster into a well-oiled and attack-minded machine. On Sunday, the midfield excelled in a three-man formation and supported the frontline that had plenty of service going forward. The only issue is that Mexico now looks vulnerable through counters, which is something that might hurt the squad in the Gold Cup.
Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Guillermo Ochoa, 6 -- Although neither of the goals were his fault, Ochoa didn't do much to stand out between the sticks. An average evening for the veteran who will likely remain the starting option in the Gold Cup.
DF Luis Rodriguez, 7 -- "Chaka" went from an underwhelming player to a pivotal figure during the final stages of the win. After creating mistakes and allowing Ecuador to score their second goal, the right-back compensated with a game-winner in the 2nd half and an active performance in the final 15 minutes.
DF Cesar Montes, 6 -- A fairly standard game from the 22-year-old. A deflected header into his own net was unfortunately the highlight for the central defender that wasn't as assertive as Carlos Salcedo or Moreno.
DF Hector Moreno, 7 -- The veteran was a solid presence in the backline until his injury. After suffering a knock, Moreno was brought off the field in the 35th minute.
MF Jonathan dos Santos, 8 -- No player on the field worked harder than Dos Santos against Ecuador. The LA Galaxy player constantly pressured the ball, dashed around the field and scored the first goal of the game off an accurate shot from distance.
MF Andres Guardado, 8 -- If the Mexican national team was a symphony, Guardado would surely be the conductor. Sitting in the heart of the XI, the captain dished out instructions while constantly making himself available for passes. After eventually moving into a more advanced role, Guardado became a key playmaker for Mexico.
MF Luis Montes, 7 -- Lost in the shadow of the midfield work of Dos Santos and Guardado, Montes stole the spotlight away through his golazo in the 63rd minute. At 33 years of age, "Chapito" is still capable of being a vital component for Mexico.
FW Uriel Antuna, 5 -- There's something undoubtedly intriguing about the work-rate of a pacey youngster like Antuna, but it's unrefined. Barring a removal of an injured player from the Gold Cup roster, the 21-year-old winger might have to watch the North American tournament from home.
FW Raul Jimenez, 7 -- Don't let any #HotTakes fool you, Jimenez is in fine form ahead of the Gold Cup. While many will point out his lack of goals and assists in the last two games, few players did more dirty work or battled in more duels than the Wolves star.
FW Orbelin Pineda, 6 -- Not much to say about Pineda. Perhaps due to him playing a role on the left wing that doesn't suit his traits, the Cruz Azul player failed to impress and was usually caught providing conservative passes for most of the game.
DF Carlos Salcedo, 7 -- Substituted in for Moreno during the 35th minute. After bouncing back from his injury, Salcedo looked fit and ready for take charge once again for El Tri. The Tigres player looked like his old aggressive self on Sunday.
DF Jesus Gallardo, 7 -- Substituted in for Sanchez during halftime. Gallardo was a clear upgrade over Sanchez. The eager player took more chances going forward and provided the assist for Rodriguez's game-winner.
FW Alexis Vega, 5 -- Substituted in for Jimenez during the 61st minute. The 21-year-old had limited time on the field but was either being shut down by Ecuador's backline or fouled during his cameo appearance.
MF Diego Reyes, 6 -- Substituted in for Montes during the 64th minute. An average game for the lanky defensive midfielder. Although he doesn't possess the same distribution or energy as someone like Alvarez or Guardado, Reyes is still a decent option when trying to close out a match.
FW Roberto Alvarado, N/A -- Substituted in for Pineda during the 72nd minute.
FW Rodolfo Pizarro, N/A -- Substituted in for Antuna during the 72nd minute.